The Ethics of Reading in Manuscript Culture: Glossing the Libro De Buen Amor

Dagenais, John

Published by Princeton University Press, 1994
ISBN 10: 0691032467 / ISBN 13: 9780691032467
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Synopsis: Reexamining the roles played by author, reader, scribe, and text in medieval literary practice, John Dagenais argues that the entire physical manuscript must by the basis of any discussion of how meaning was made. Medievalists, he maintains, have relied too heavily on critical editions that seek to create a single, definitive text reflecting an author's intentions. In reality, manuscripts bear not only authorial texts but also a variety of elements added by scribes and readers: glosses, marginal notes, pointing hands, illuminations, and fragments of other, seemingly unrelated works. Using the surviving manuscripts of the fourteenth-century "Libro de buen amor", a work that has been read both as didactic treatise on spiritual love and as a celebration of sensual pleasures, Dagenais show how consideration of the physical manuscripts and their cultural context can shed new light on interpretive issues that have puzzled modern readers. Dagenais also addresses the theory and practice of reading in the Middle Ages, showing that for medieval readers the text on the manuscript leaf, including the text of the "Libro", was primarily rhetorical and ethical in nature. It spoke to them directly, individually, always in the present moment. Exploring the margins of the manuscripts of the "Libro" and of other Iberian works, Dagenais reveals how medieval readers continually reshaped their texts, both physically and ethically as they read, and argues that the context of medieval manuscript culture forces us to reconsider such comfortable received notions as "text" and "literature" and the theories we have based upon them.

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Abbreviations
Preface
Introduction: The Larger Gloss 3
Ch. 1 "A Glorious Thyng, Certeyn": At the Margins of the Medieval Text 33
Ch. 2 Adaptation and Application 56
Ch. 3 The Ethics of Reading the Book of the Archpriest of Hita 80
Ch. 4 S/C: The Manuscripts of the Libro and Their Scribes 118
Ch. 5 At the Margins of the Libro 153
Ch. 6 Reading the Book of the Archpriest of Hita 171
Conclusion: Tolle Lege 213
Notes 219
Bibliography 243
Index 263

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Title: The Ethics of Reading in Manuscript Culture:...
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: 1994
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fine

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